Showing posts from January, 2007

Dispatches from Guam #1: Welcome to Guam

Dispatches From Guam #1: Welcome to Guam... Each day, I am compelled to see my island through the gaze of another, to feel its warmth and cool winds through the slogans that place its ownership elsewhere, “Where America’s Day Begins” “America in Asia.” Welcome to Guam . An island where the scars of war have healed in sickly tones of red, white and blue, which twist and tangle our tongues so that the language we are meant to speak becomes foreign to the soil that nurtured it for so long. Stolen even are the sunsets and sunrises, replacing the colors that welcomed the Chamorros to these islands millennia ago, with the colors with which America will begin its day.

How Much Chamorro Suffering is Worth a Fake Vote?

I know that I was supposed to start with my Dispatches From Guam poems, but these news pieces demanded to be commented on since they are truly disgusting. For those of you who don't know, Guam recently "won" some voting rights. I sarcastically put "won" in quote marks, and qualify it with some, because such is the heavily asterisk laden existence of those who live in today's colonies . The newly elected Democratic majority Congress has just passed new rules which would allow the non-voting delegates from Guam, American Samora, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. the right to sort of vote in Congress. The articles below detail how this change will allow those of us in the colonies and the territories, the chance to "symbolically" become a closer part of the United States family, through the use of this "symbolic" vote. This vote must constantly be qualified as "symbolic" not because of the incredible potency it

The Insular Empire

For the past few months I've been slowly working on narration pieces for a documentary on Chamorros and the Marianas Islands that coming out soon called The Insular Empire . The documentary is being made by Vanessa Warheit and Amy Robinson of Horse Opera Productions , and is a very interesting intervention into the ambiguous political existences of the people in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. Click on the link above to read more about the directors, producers and scope of the film, but there is one section from their synopsis page, which I think sums up well what the filmmakers are trying to do: "...most portrayals of the Mariana Islands fall back on easy stereotypes of 'paradise' lost or found, or ignore issues of political status, economic realities, or indigenous rights altogether. The Insular Empire: America's Pacific Frontier - intended for national public television broadcast, educational curricula, and community outreach effor

Why I Can't Take My Eyes Off of Amy Goodman

Published on Thursday, January 25, 2007 by the Seattle Post-Ingelligencer Up to Democrats to investigate Torture by Amy Goodman The new head of the Senate Judiciary Committee was angry. Sen. Patrick Leahy was questioning U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about a man named Maher Arar. Arar is a Canadian citizen the U.S. detained without charge then sent to Syria in 2002. Leahy fumed: "We knew damn well, if he went to Canada, he wouldn't be tortured. He'd be held. He'd be investigated. We also knew damn well, if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured." Leahy was responding to Alberto Gonzales' comments that "there were assurances sought that he would not be tortured from Syria." Assurances? From the country that President Bush recently described as the "crossroads for terrorism"? From the country that Bush has vilified and threatened to attack? But before we point the finger at other countries, we have to look here at home. Gonzales

Colonial Voting Rights

This article that I'm posting below, is the biggest joke on Guam, which is absolutely not funny. You have to be completely maladjusted to think that this makes us a part of the "American family," or that this is somehow a gain in in making Guam either more sovereign or more American. I wrote a letter to the editor of The Pacific Daily News in 2005 after the ESPN Cockfighting debacle , which discussed how the circle of belonging for Chamorros and others on Guam is always a vicious one, made tragic, traumatic and perilous by scandals that continually exclude people on Guam, and foil their attempts to feel and be American. You can find my letter to the editor, as well as some responses to it in my post from last year, Why Do We Fear Being a Third World Country, But Love Being a First World Colony ? According to one of the responses from a haole, professing to speak on behalf of the US nation, he did an exhaustive search and could find no evidence of the "scandals&quo

Everyday Decolonization Education

Read the letter to the editor from the January 16th Marianas Variety that I'm pasting below with caution it is an example of the racist rhetoric that prevents any and all forms of decolonization on Guam from taking place, as well as ensuring that all of us on Guam continue to accept and celebrate America's superiority. It is because of letters like this and the logics it represents that there must be more education in everyday conversations which can break this commonsense about decolonization, since this conception of it, as being a time traveling trip into the past, is not just the belief of haoles such as Dave Davis, but rather the majority of Chamorros as well. Chamorros that I have interviewed in my research on decolonization have thought that decolonization would mean, running the island naked with barbeque tongs. Decolonization in all of its diverse forms is not simply about the past, but about the future. It is about dealing with the political sins of the past and re


Last week for the first time that I know of, I got Youtubed. I'm surprisingly ambivalent, confused, aburido, over this. Sure, there were feelings of excitement. Lana, sen paire este. Feelings of hope too. I got Youtubed along with Julian Aguon and Victoria Leon Guerrero since all of us were on an edition of KUAM News Extra last week to discuss political status and the impacts of the military increases that are already taking place on Guam. Hami na tres, manhohoben ha', and so while we were on Guam we were constantly introduced and interpreted as young people who are taking up the cause of decolonization. By being on Youtube, hopefully we can reach young Chamorros and others on or from Guam who wouldn't ever read Minagahet Zine or even the PDN. But there were chathinasso lokkue. Lao pinat mandikike'. Most prominent of these worries deals with the fact that my symbolic existence, the social substance that I am in the world, seems to slowly be moving beyond the mea

Time Machine Native

I just got back to the states after two weeks kulang pakyo' magahet in Guam and so I'm just trying to make sure my head is on straight as I jump back into school. Posting on my blog might be like it was when I was on Guam, ti sesso or infrequent and I apologize. To placate yan na'magof the half dozen or perhaps dozen of you who read my blog regularly, just thought I'd share a photo of me from the poetry slam I attended on Guam, Sinangan-ta 4. I arrived on island as the poetry slam was starting. After being detained yet again , although this time for only about half an hour, my family picked me up, took me to eat Chinese food, and then politely dropped me off at the poetry slam. Hunggan, gof yafai yu' put i hinanao-hu gi i batkon aire, lao I knew that the space that is created by these poetry slams is too important to not put to good use. Antes di maleffa yu, si yu'us ma'ase to Anthony Tamayo for the photo, and to Kie Susuico, Melvin Won Pat Bora and Jovan

Relinquishing the Modern Fantasy of Sovereignty

We all know that feeling, when we find the most intimate meaning in most random or even puzzling or paradoxical of places. I know that many Pacific Islanders feel this sort of serendipity or finakcha'i when they watch Bollywood movies. The geographical, cultural, historical, political differences/specificities are obvious, regardless of whether we identify with them because of some post-colonial or anti-colonial solidarity. But yet, amongst so many Pacific Islanders (and occasionally Native Americans, but at a much rarer rate) when they would watch Bollywood movies, they would feel an immediate intimacy with the representations of large families, love of singing and song and "exotic" foods. In the United States, one film through which nearly all groups marked as "ethnic" meaning not apa'ka or not normative, felt a sense of "home" was My Big Fat Greek Wedding . Filipinos, Chamorros, Indians (Asian not American), Mexicans, Black people, some Asia

Guinaiya Gi I Chi-Na I Tano'

Humahanao yu' tatte para San Diego pa'go, lao fine'nina bai sugo' giya Hawai'i ya bei bisita Si Tata-hu. Achokka' dos na simana ha' desde umali'e ham yan i nuebu na guinaiya-ku, sen mahalang yu' nu Guiya. Hu tugiyi gui' este gi i batkon aire ginnen Hapon. Buente atdet i palabras yan " over the top." Lao estague i kustumbren i korason taotao no? I mas i chinago', pat meggai'na i inachago'n-miyu mas atdet siempre i piniti yan i minahalang. Pues achokka' buente noskuantos na mit miyas umafa'sipara ham, i sinientete-ku kalang malingu yu' gi otro na dimension. Lao hu guaiya gui' sinembatgo, ya kumekehomlo' i korason-hu, sa' agupa' para bei in ali'e ta'lo. Guinaiya Gi I Chi-Na I Tano' Yanggen hu li’e i matå’-mu un biåhi mas Manmafunas esta siempre i triste-ku Este lagu’ ni’ tumutu’u påppa’ Este ha’ ma sasångan Maloffan hagas esta i chi-hu siha Lao hinangai-hu ha’ put Hågu Fabores

Adios ta'lo, isla-ku

Agupa’ bai hu hanao ta’lo para San Diego , Kalang chubasko este na tiempo-ku guini. Bula na malago bei sångan, lao ti siña sa’ ti tunanas i hinasso-ku. Meggai nuebu na hu susedi desde matto yu’ giya Guahan este na biahi. Bula maloloffan guini ni’ muna’bubu yu’, ya muna’triste yu’ lokkue. Lao bula guini na hu hungok, cho’gue yan li’e ya muna’gaiesperansa yu’. Ti kumakåte i kerason-hu achokka’ ta fafana’ bula na piligro yan prublema. Put hafa hu susedi gi este na hinanao-hu tåtte para Guahan, hu tungo’ na siña ta afekta yan manea i chalån-ta mo’ña. Si Yu’us Ma’ase islå-ku, ya todu i bonito na taotao-mu yan lugat-mu siha. Adios esta ki manali’e hit ta’lo.

Why I Can't Take My Eyes Off of Tom Hayden

Published on Tuesday, January 9, 2007 by Presidential Campaign Launched in America with Ethnic Cleansing in Iraq As Debate Begins, Sunnis Decry Massacres by Tom Hayden Politically, the coming escalation by 20,000 US troops in Iraq is best understood as the comeback strategy of the neo-conservative Republicans rallying around Sen. John McCain’s presidential banner. The political spin-doctors are calling it a “surge”, an aggressive term implying a kind of post-election erection for Bush and the neo-conservatives. In fact, or course, it is an escalation, a term apparently carrying too much baggage from Vietnam. The hardcore neo-conservatives, their ranks thinned by defections publicized in Vanity Fair, leaped immediately to salvage the war from November’s voter disapproval. Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute and William Kristol of The Weekly Standard began promoting an increase of 50,000 troops, mainly to Baghdad. Bush, who all along said he was lis

Famoksaiyan Sakkan Hugua

Ti bai kedagi hamyo, when I along with my cousin Alfred Peredo Flores Jr. and our friends Josette Lujan Quinata and Destiny Tedtaotao were planning the Famoksaiyan conference that took place last April, I never would have imagined what we would have ended up doing. Since that conference we have had group meetings to team build, strategize and bring more people into Famoksaiyan in Guam, the Bay Area and Long Beach. Members of Famoksaiyan were also instrumental in organizing the recent trip by six Chamorros to testify before the United Nation's Committee on Decolonization. Famoksaiyan also helped coordinate two huge events related to the decolonization of Guam and the revitalization of Chamorro culture and political activistm that have taken place over the past few months. First there was the United Nation's Report Back that took place at the La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley. This evening was attended by more than 100 people, half of which weren't Chamorro or even from

Decolonizing Our Lives

Tonight I'll be presenting as part of the Decolonizing Our Lives forum which is taking place at the UOG Lecture Hall at 7:30. Its been a very exciting and stressful week planning and preparing for this forum, but it looks like its going to be worth it. I came later in the preparation process, so I've been fortunate enough to get to do smaller and more exciting things such as radio and TV interviews. Last night I was on KUAM on their News Extra broadcast, along with Victoria Leon Guerrero, who has done the majority of the organizing for this event, and Julian Aguon, whose latest book The Fire This Time provides extremely important information about the potential economic, political and cultural damages Guam is facing with the increases in military presence it will receive over the next few years. If you want, head to KUAM and check out the interview. They have the video of me up right now, although I don't know for how long it'll be there. . For t